Currently traveling

South America and Antarctica

January 2018 - September 2019
Currently traveling
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  • Day2

    A day in Santiago getting our bearings

    January 31, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    After a good sleep, it was time to wander around the city. Santiago is a mix of old and new, but in the heart of the city, the old dominates in the buildings and many cobblestoned streets. Typically of the Spanish influence, there is a major city square, bordered on one side the Catholic Church, and the City Hall on another. Occasionally there are small rallies in the square, but the police are usually there en masse - horseback, dog squad, mobile stations. Most people just seem to go about their normal day, coffee bars are a stand up affair. You buy a ticket for a coffee, then give the ticket to the waitress.

    We had hoped to see the Museum of Contemporary Art, but it is closed at present whilst a new exhibition is installed. We visited the Museum of Natural History instead.

    Still a bit tired from the flight, but getting some rest. Walked from one end of town to the other trying to get a local SIM card...not that easy. New regulations mean you can only get them from the main Telco office, but no need for ID, and you can buy as many as you need. A little Spanish helps. At least it was a great way to see the city.
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  • Day3

    Santiago to Chillán

    February 1, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    Well the time has come to start our journey south. We spent a morning at Parquemet in Santiago where we visited the statue of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Concepción which also provides a magnificent view of the city. Zawadi and Muffy have expressed a great interest in the nature of street art in Chile. The graffiti has a distinct local feel to it, part political, very expressive. One thing we noticed was the armoured vehicles with water canons at the ready outside the parliament. But that said, we felt safe in walking around Santiago.

    Chillán is a town which has a more rural feel, and has an unusually styled church which was built in 1941. The Cathedral de Chillán was built following earthquakes and as a memorial to those who died previously. The arches are designed to resist the shaking. As always in Chile, the church sits on one side of the town square, along with municipal buildings, fire station, school, theatre, shops and a bank. Standard fare here.
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  • Day4

    Chillán to Temuco

    February 2, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    More travel, still jet lagged, and just happy to get the bus. We travelled through the Araucaria region, and at last we are really getting glimpses of the Andes and the Araucaria pines, which remind us of the Norfolk Island pines but are very different. All however, we mull over and agree that they most likely all developed from Gondwanaland.Read more

  • Day5

    Temuco to Puerto Montt

    February 3, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    After a late start to the morning...still kicking that old jet lag...we made our way to the bus terminus and boarded the bus to Puerto Montt. Temuco was a pleasant climate, but it is getting colder as we go south. We also began making a list of the last minute items we need and things to be done before we hit the Antarctic. Things like sunscreen, chapsticks, and another set of hiking poles to replace the pair Dave left at home.

    We continue to stay in ‘pensiones’ along the way, and love the local people we stay with. The places do not look much, but there is charm and comfort and friendliness.

    Not much to say other than we are still travelling south.

    Except to say where we are staying in Puerto Montt is a real fishing/port town. Hence the strip joints in buildings not much bigger than a garage, and the Christians across the road. Dave stood in the middle of the road between them and pondered his conscience.
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  • Day6

    Peurto Varas and Volcán Osorno

    February 4, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Hired a car today. We went up the road a bit to Puerto Vargas on the edge of Lago (lake) Llanquihue, and found a great little restaurant which did the most amazing local foods, including a favourite of Zawadi’s - octopus - which was tender and served on avocado. Avocado is a staple in Chile

  • Day7

    Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas

    February 5, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌬 13 °C

    Jet lag and yesterday’s long trip to Volcan Osborne had taken their toll, and so a lazy day was spent just driving about the town and then to the airport, where delay followed delay and eventually we were Punta Arenas bound around midnight.

    Hydrangeas abound in this regions, and the blue colour is spectacular. Puerto Montt is a working town, and that is evident in the buildings. It is also a port town, as evidenced by the ‘red light’ establishments everywhere.Read more

  • Day8

    Punta Arenas

    February 6, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After a very late (2 am) arrival in Punta Arenas, Dave collected a hire car and we proceeded to head off around the town, using the time to purchase any last minute necessities for the trip south. A lazy day really, considering the delays the previous night. But also a chance to catch up on sleep and start to do our final preparations.

    After dinner, we took the chance to rub or kiss the toe of the Indian at the base of the Magellan statue in the centre of the town square in Punta Arenas. Tradition has it that if you rub the toe you will have a safe return. Dave kissed the toe in the belief it would also alleviate any seasickness. It worked for him.
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  • Day9

    Punta Arenas

    February 7, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

    Our second day in Punta and a chance to drive south to the Museo Etnico - Kenkeu, which is a recently established park focusing on the history of local tribes, especially the Selk’nam who were mercilessly decimated by the 1900s. The Selk’nam were indigenous to the Tierra del Fuego region. They were an average height of 2 metres, were mostly naked, and had adapted to the sub-zero climate through increased metabolism, use of animal fat to coat their bodies and crouching positions which allowed them to conserve energy.

    Our guides spoke a little English, and as we had read a bit about the tribe, we were able to assist them to improve their English whilst learning more about the area from them. The guides were excited to have their first Australian visitors, and even more delighted that two of the visitors were Aboriginal.

    Earlier in the day we took the opportunity to visit the Salesian museum in Punta, which houses a large collection of Selk’nam artefacts and information on other regional tribes. In the early 1900s, a Salesian brother, Brother Agustino took it upon himself to document in great detail, the local tribes in order to preserve their culture. Sadly there are few Selk’nam descendants today due to the bounty imposed on them by the colonial powers of the time.
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